The Altura Night vision Flite is quite an expensive lightweight waterproof jacket. The main question is whether it is worth the £70 – when there are quite a few alternative jackets at a lower price?
Firstly, it is very light (medium size is only 140grams) and very compact. It comes in a small grey bag, which can easily be slipped into the back of a jersey pocket. It could also be carried in a moderately sized saddle bag, for the unexpected downpour. This lightness and ease of carrying is a definite plus, especially for road cycling, where you want to minimize the weight you carry in back pockets or saddle bag.
It looks good. It’s the kind of jacket I’m happy to wear anywhere (which shows I’m not a slave to fashion). I was sent a red jacket by Altura, and I think it looks quite stylish. Personally for commuting, I would have chosen yellow. If you are going to wear a cycle specific jacket, you might as well choose yellow which has higher visibility. However, on the other hand, the advantage of red, is that it is much better when you’re off your bike.And maybe cyclists shouldn’t have to get bedecked in bright yellow automatically, but that’s another story… There are still silver visibility strips which help illumination in dark / muggy conditions. In a way I’m glad to receive the red one, as I really like the jacket.
On the Flite version, there are no pockets, only a velcro patch on the back.
Being light, the jacket is definitely breathable. I wore in recent triathlon when I was marshaling and was in and out of the car. For fast commuting you might want to unzip the front a little to help with breathing. For riding on the road, it is so light, you can easily take off and stuff back in pocket. I rode in showery conditions last week, and it was good.
I chose a size Large because my arms are quite long. It is a little on baggy side, but then I’m ultra thin and long. This wasn’t too much of a problem, even when riding on road, it wasn’t too un-aerodynamic.
When I felt how light the jacket was, I was rather suspicious about how waterproof it was going to be. Being so thin, you half expected water to soon coming through. I was pleased that it held up pretty well in showery conditions. The rain beads off the outside, and there is a second shell layer on the inside to keep a barrier between your clothes and the outer coat. Overall, this is very waterproof for the weight and fit.
For really long rides, in the heavy rain, you would be better off with an Altura Night vision Evo, which is tougher at repelling water. However, for my type of riding, this lighter vision is more suitable. It is light but has a good enough water repellent to get home / get to work.
I’m happy with the product, but is it worth the hefty price tag? Being a Yorkshireman, I’ve tended in past to go for cheaper jackets, with the result I’ve ended up buying quite a few, in the hope of getting that combination of cheap / lightweight / waterproof and breathable. In reality, it’s hard to get all four criteria at once. You have to sacrifice at least one of those criteria.
- Altura Flite Night Vision jacket at Amazon.co.uk
- Altura Night Vision waterproof jacket at Wiggle £70
- Best waterproof jackets cycling